Summary: In a time in which things seem to be overwhelming and discouraging, by being obedient to God and His purpose for our lives we can keep pursing.
July 10, 2022
Weary -- Yet Pursuing!
Intro.: Good morning FB, Vidalia. Great to be back and worship with you here in the summer. My wife Diana and Son Tyler and his girl friend Kelly are all with me as well. Open your copy of God’s inspired and holy word to Judges 8:4 please.
Within the last 10 days I have read some disturbing news that made me very weary. In the city of Pottstown, Pennsylvania the homeless population has rose 118 % in 2021-22. And there is little evidence that will change any time soon due to the housing boom in Montgomery, County. The city has a 30% poverty rate greater than any part of the state.
Fortunately, several churches throughout the county have stepped up, offering support for those in need. Unfortunately, the municipality has told two such churches that doing so places them in violation of the zoning code's definition of a "church."
The municipalities notice to the churches in question states that "it is the opinion of this office that the use of the property has changed, and by definition, is more than that of a church." Their definition of a "church" is limited to "a building wherein persons assemble regularly for religious worship and that is used only for such purposes and for those accessory activities that are customarily associated therewith."
Apparently, that definition does not leave room for ministries like free mental health support and counseling, free food and hygiene products, and weekly meals for the public, all of which were cited as examples of ways that the church was no longer acting as a "church."
I couldn’t agree more with the Director, Clare Schilling “helping people is what the church does, even when others may not appreciate it.” Jim Dennison, Daily Article, July 7, 2022.
In other Evangelical news, in a historic and far-reaching decision, the U.S. Supreme Court on June 24, 2022 officially reversed Roe v. Wade on Friday, declaring that the constitutional right to abortion, upheld for nearly a half century, no longer exists.
Immediately in several areas of our nation, including our own state, disagreements and protests began, social media began buzzing with sayings such as “women’s rights had been taken away.” Lawsuits and court injunctions were filed, including in our own state to delay or to overturn the Supreme Courts decision.
Need I go back to late 2019, 2020-2022 and mention the pandemic. That upon January 30, 2020, the Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the outbreak of COVID-19 to be a Public Health Emergency of International Concern and then issued a set of Temporary Recommendations.
Today we are marking 30+ months of this declared pandemic in the United States that has brought about deaths, hospitalizations, large public event gatherings cancelled (including church services), schools moving to virtual classrooms, the wearing of personal protective equipment, stay at home orders by politicians, businesses closed, and isolation of many at risks people. And it’s still not over.
Certainly this is not a foreign or distant problem with any of you and for this congregation. These months have been difficult for everyone in many different ways.
Speaking of life: Someone once described the journey of life like this: When as a child I laughed and wept – TIME CREPT; When as a youth I dreamed and talked – TIME WALKED; When I became a full grown man – TIME RAN; and later, as I grow older – TIME FLEW; soon I shall find while traveling on TIME GONE.
Whatever age or stage of life we are in at this moment – the reality is that life is moving on. We may feel as if we need to press the pause button and stop life or shift down into a lower gear and let life slow down – but the reality is we cannot do either and life continues to move ahead.
I would also say that much of these difficulties have come at a great cost. In some ways we wonder how much more can we endure? How much longer will the circumstances we are facing continue?
If that’s’ the way your outcome on life is right now – I am positive that you are not alone and you are in good company and you are in the right place. In fact there is no better place for anyone to be other than in the church during a time of crisis.
Look with me here in Judges to see if these words do not describe how you fee today. In Judges 8:4 there are five words I want us to consider this morning. Let’s read the verse and then I’ll give you the five words. “Exhausted, but still in pursuit.” Can I get an Amen? Other translations read, “Faint, yet pursuing,” “Weary yet pursing.”